Interview with The Project – 21 June 2012

Topics: Search and rescue operation

CHARLIE PICKERING: We’re joined by Home Affairs Minister, Jason Clare. Firstly Jason, what’s the latest and what hope do those still missing have?

JASON CLARE: G’day Charlie. The latest information is that there’s 109 people that we’ve been able to rescue but the bad news is we’re told there were about 200 people on the boat. Our planes are flying over at the moment. They’re seeing debris, they’re seeing life jackets but unfortunately we haven’t rescued anybody today that is still alive. We’re reaching the end now of that 36 hour window where we’ve got the best chance of saving people. So it’s looking increasingly grim.

MAGDELENA ROSE: Now Minister, we heard that the Australian Government first received a distress call on Tuesday night. Could this disaster have been avoided?

JASON CLARE: Well, whenever people get on a boat, there’s a real risk that things like this are going to happen, that people are going to die. There’s got to be a full investigation into this and there will be to make sure that everything that should have been done was done.

MESHEL LAURIE: Given that the boat was in Indonesian waters when the alarm first went out, what do you think about the Indonesian Government’s part in this whole tragedy? Did they do enough?

JASON CLARE: The people that are responsible for it are the people that put them on the boat. To put this in perspective this is all happening right now halfway between Indonesia and Christmas Island 110 nautical miles north of Christmas Island, 109 nautical miles south of Indonesia. We’ve got Australian men and women, we’ve got our navy boats as well as merchant boats, planes out there as well trying to save as many lives as we possibly can. But as I said, with each hour, this looks increasingly grim.

CHARLIE PICKERING: Well, Minister, obviously our hopes are that more people have survived and we can find them tonight. Thank you for your time.

JASON CLARE: Cheers. Thanks very much. We hope so. –